Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Never Take Things For Granted

This is a common adage, but one I feel most people don't heed. However, I feel I have come to learn over the years to heed this saying. I have lived in New York City for four years. I came here to study advertising and wound up instead working at a multimillion dollar clothing company. I have come a long way from the small town life in which I grew up, and it's been an eye-opening experience for me. I have seen the best that NYC can offer as well as the worst. I remember living in Harlem, and passing drug addicts on the trash-strewn streets on my way to the subway. Twenty minutes later I was in my midtown office, working for a multimillionaire, and working besides people who drove expensive cars and lived in the ritziest neighborhoods. And there I was, right in the middle of it, taking it all in.

I've done a lot of growing up over the years, although I aim never to stop growing in this life of mine. I used to be a self-absorbed teenager, not seeing a future at all for myself, fighting with my parents, not thankful for what I had. Although I know most teenagers are like this, most teenagers do not suffer from terrible depression and want to end their lives like I tried to do. Coming from such darkness into the light that now surrounds me makes me realize how far I've come.

I have learned to appreciate what I do have in my life. I am thankful that my friends and family all have good health. No one has ever had a major illness, been in the hospital for long periods of time, and everyone is in good spirits. Most people only think of their health when it fails them, but I am aware of my good health almost daily. I also have a loving, close-knit family. Although I no longer speak to my father, who years ago decided he didn't want much to do with my life, I have a wonderful stepfather who has loved me and done a lot for me since day one. I have the most selfless and caring mother in the world, from whom I get all my good character traits. She raised three kids on her own for years. I am so proud of her and will be eternally grateful. I also have a brother and sister and lots of cousins and aunts and uncles. I enjoy having a big family. Everyone is supportive of me, and I love to spend time with them.

I have a few amazing friends whom I hold dear. I've never had a large group of friends, but I'd rather have just a few I can really count on and love unconditionally. I have Sara, whom I've been friends with for nine years, who is a loving, compassionate soul. I have Meghan, whom I've known since first grade, with whom I share a lot of memories. I have Carly, whom I met last year and communicate with by email almost daily. We have a lot in common. And I have Diana and Sage, the kindest girls I've met since I've been in NYC. At times I've met people who have used me or lied to me, and it's gotten me down for a little while. But all I have to do is call a good friend or think of all the happy times I've spent with them and immediately I feel better. I know there are mostly kind-hearted people in the world.

I have my boyfriend Jason, whom I met earlier this year. He has been the first person I've fallen in love with and has taught me what that feels like. Right away he supported me through difficult times and has helped me grow and learn. I am planning my future with him, and it feels good to have someone so caring and wonderful beside me.

Probably most people only think about all they don't have, and won't think about all the things they do have. I know I used to. But it's easy to take a few minutes each day and realize what life is about: health, happiness, family, and friends. Although I would change a couple things in my life if I could, I know things can't be perfect, and instead I focus on what I do love about my life. I'm also not exactly where I want to be right now, but I have ideas and am working on how to get there. I really am able to realize how fortunate I am. And above all, I feel thankful that I can have this gratitude.

Kimberly B.
New York

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Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak   All rights reserved.
Nothing on this web site may be reproduced in any way
without express written permission from the copyright holder.

 

Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak   All rights reserved.
Nothing on this web site may be reproduced in any way
without express written permission from the copyright holder.

 
 

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Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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Review by Dan Balogh

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The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

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